Experience-dependent plasticity in deaf participants has been shown in a variety of studies focused on either the dorsal or ventral aspects of the visual system, but both systems have never been investigated in concert. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated functional plasticity for spatial processing (a dorsal visual pathway function) and for object processing (a ventral visual pathway function) concurrently, in the context of differing sensory (auditory deprivation) and language (use of a signed language) experience. During scanning, deaf native users of American Sign Language (ASL), hearing native ASL users, and hearing participants without ASL experience attended to either the spatial arrangement of frames containing objects or the identity of the objects themselves. These two tasks revealed the expected dorsal/ventral dichotomy for spatial versus object processing in all groups. In addition, the object identity matching task contained both face and house stimuli, allowing us to examine category-selectivity in the ventral pathway in all three participant groups. When contrasting the groups we found that deaf signers differed from the two hearing groups in dorsal pathway parietal regions involved in spatial cognition, suggesting sensory experience-driven plasticity. Group differences in the object processing system indicated that responses in the face-selective right lateral fusiform gyrus and anterior superior temporal cortex were sensitive to a combination of altered sensory and language experience, whereas responses in the amygdala were more closely tied to sensory experience. By selectively engaging the dorsal and ventral visual pathways within participants in groups with different sensory and language experiences, we have demonstrated that these experiences affect the function of both of these systems, and that certain changes are more closely tied to sensory experience, while others are driven by the combination of sensory and language experience.
plasticity; dorsal stream; ventral stream; spatial processing; face processing; deaf; sign language
To estimate the total annual societal cost of uterine fibroids in the United States, based on direct and indirect costs, including associated obstetric complications.
A systematic review of the literature was conducted to estimate the number of women seeking treatment for symptomatic fibroids annually, the costs of medical and surgical treatment, work lost and obstetric complications attributable to fibroids. Total annual costs were converted to 2010 U.S. dollars. A sensitivity analysis was performed.
The estimated annual direct costs (surgery, hospital admissions, outpatient visits, medications) were $4.1 to $9.4 billion. Estimated lost work costs ranged from $1.55 to $17.2 billion annually. Obstetric outcomes attributed to fibroids resulted in a cost of $238 million to $7.76 billion annually. Uterine fibroids were estimated to cost the US $5.9 to $34.4 billion annually.
Obstetric complications associated with fibroids contributed significantly to their economic burden. Lost work costs may account for the largest proportion of societal costs due to fibroids.
Cost of fibroids; Fibroids; Obstetric costs of fibroids; Uterine leiomyomata
How pediatric oncologists manage parents' hope in practice and how they address parents' needs are examined.
Oncologists are criticized for fostering unrealistic hope in patients and families, but criticisms reflect a perspective that is oversimplified and “expert” guidance that is ambiguous or impractical. Our aim was to understand how pediatric oncologists manage parents' hope in practice and to evaluate how they address parents' needs.
Participants were 53 parents and 12 oncologists whom they consulted across six U.K. centers. We audio recorded consultations approximately 1–2, 6, and 12 months after diagnosis. Parents were interviewed after each consultation to elicit their perspectives on the consultation and clinical relationship. Transcripts of consultations and interviews were analyzed qualitatively.
Parents needed hope in order to function effectively in the face of despair, and all wanted the oncologists to help them be hopeful. Most parents focused hope on the short term. They therefore needed oncologists to be authoritative in taking responsibility for the child's long-term survival while cushioning parents from information about longer-term uncertainties and being positive in providing information about short-term progress. A few parents who could not fully trust their oncologist were unable to hope.
Oncologists' pivotal role in sustaining hope was one that parents gave them. Most parents' “faith” in the oncologist allowed them to set aside, rather than deny, their fears about survival while investing their hopes in short-term milestones. Oncologists' behavior generally matched parents' needs, contradicting common criticisms of oncologists. Nevertheless, oncologists need to identify and address the difficulty that some parents have in fully trusting the oncologist and, consequently, being hopeful.
Genome-wide association (GWAS) methods have identified genes contributing to Parkinson disease (PD); we sought to identify additional genes associated with PD susceptibility.
A two stage design was used. First, individual level genotypic data from five recent PD GWAS (Discovery Sample: 4,238 PD cases and 4,239 controls) were combined. Following imputation, a logistic regression model was employed in each dataset to test for association with PD susceptibility and results from each dataset were meta-analyzed. Second, 768 SNPs were genotyped in an independent Replication Sample (3,738 cases and 2,111 controls).
Genome-wide significance was reached for SNPs in SNCA (rs356165, G: odds ratio (OR)=1.37; p=9.3 × 10−21), MAPT (rs242559, C: OR=0.78; p=1.5 × 10−10), GAK/DGKQ (rs11248051, T:OR=1.35; p=8.2 × 10−9/ rs11248060, T: OR=1.35; p=2.0×10−9), and the HLA region (rs3129882, A: OR=0.83; p=1.2 × 10−8), which were previously reported. The Replication Sample confirmed the associations with SNCA, MAPT, and the HLA region and also with GBA (E326K OR=1.71; p=5 × 10−8 Combined Sample) (N370 OR=3.08; p=7 × 10−5 Replication sample). A novel PD susceptibility locus, RIT2, on chromosome 18 (rs12456492; p=5 × 10−5 Discovery Sample; p=1.52 × 10−7 Replication sample; p=2 × 10−10 Combined Sample) was replicated. Conditional analyses within each of the replicated regions identified distinct SNP associations within GBA and SNCA, suggesting that there may be multiple risk alleles within these genes.
We identified a novel PD susceptibility locus, RIT2, replicated several previously identified loci, and identified more than one risk allele within SNCA and GBA.
Norovirus is an important human pathogen that is now recognized as the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis globally. Six viral genogroups have been described, although only genogroups GI, GII, and GIV are known to infect humans, with the GII viruses most commonly identified in both outbreak and sporadic settings. In contrast, infections by GIV viruses are rarely reported, and their overall prevalence in the community is unknown. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of the human GIV.1 strain Lake Macquarie virus, which caused two linked outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis in aged-care facilities in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia. The Lake Macquarie virus genome was 7,527 nucleotides (nt) in length and shared highest identity (70%) with the recently completed feline GIV.2 virus genome.
Avascular necrosis (AVN) of the femoral head is a debilitating disease of multifactorial genesis, predominately affects young patients, and often leads to the development of secondary osteoarthritis. The evolving field of regenerative medicine offers promising treatment strategies using cells, biomaterial scaffolds, and bioactive factors, which might improve clinical outcome. Early stages of AVN with preserved structural integrity of the subchondral plate are accessible to retrograde surgical procedures, such as core decompression to reduce the intraosseous pressure and to induce bone remodeling. The additive application of concentrated bone marrow aspirates, ex vivo expanded mesenchymal stem cells, and osteogenic or angiogenic growth factors (or both) holds great potential to improve bone regeneration. In contrast, advanced stages of AVN with collapsed subchondral bone require an osteochondral reconstruction to preserve the physiological joint function. Analogously to strategies for osteochondral reconstruction in the knee, anterograde surgical techniques, such as osteochondral transplantation (mosaicplasty), matrix-based autologous chondrocyte implantation, or the use of acellular scaffolds alone, might preserve joint function and reduce the need for hip replacement. This review summarizes recent experimental accomplishments and initial clinical findings in the field of regenerative medicine which apply cells, growth factors, and matrices to address the clinical problem of AVN.
An in situ platform for characterizing plasma-materials interactions at the nanoscale in the transmission electron microscope (TEM) has been demonstrated. Integrating a DC microplasma device, having plane-parallel electrodes with a 25 nm thick Au film on both the cathode and anode and operating in 760 Torr of Ar, within a TEM provides real-time observation of Au sputtering and island formation with a spatial resolution of < 100 nm. Analyses of TEM and atomic force microscopy images show the growth of Au islands to proceed by a Stranski-Krastanov process at a rate that varies linearly with the discharge power and is approximately a factor of 3 larger than the predictions of a DC plasma sputtering model. The experiments reported here extend in situ TEM diagnostics to plasma-solid and plasma-liquid interactions.
Clinically important medication errors are common after hospital discharge. They include preventable or ameliorable adverse drug events as well as medication discrepancies or non-adherence with high potential for future harm (potential adverse drug events).
The Pharmacist Intervention for Low Literacy in Cardiovascular Disease (PILL-CVD) study sought to determine the effect of a tailored intervention on the occurrence of clinically important medication errors after hospital discharge.
Randomized controlled trial with concealed allocation and blinded outcome assessors.
Two tertiary care academic hospitals.
Adults hospitalized with acute coronary syndromes or acute decompensated heart failure.
Pharmacist-assisted medication reconciliation, inpatient pharmacist counseling, low-literacy adherence aids, and individualized telephone follow-up after discharge.
The primary outcome was the number of clinically important medication errors per patient during the first 30 days after hospital discharge. Secondary outcomes included preventable or ameliorable adverse drug events, as well as potential adverse drug events.
Among 851 participants, 432 (50.8%) experienced 1 or more clinically important medication errors; 23% of such errors were judged to be serious, and 2% life-threatening. Adverse drug events occurred in 258 patients (30.3%) and potential adverse drug events in 253 (29.7%). The intervention did not significantly alter the per-patient number of clinically important medication errors (IRR=0.92; 95% CI, 0.77 to 1.10) or adverse drug events (IRR=1.09; CI, 0.86 to 1.39). Intervention patients tended to have fewer potential adverse drug events (IRR=0.80; CI, 0.61 to 1.04).
The characteristics of the study hospitals and participants may limit generalizability.
Clinically important medication errors were present among half of patients after hospital discharge and were not significantly reduced by a health-literacy sensitive, pharmacist-delivered intervention.
care transitions; health literacy; medication safety
Patients’ ability to accurately report their pre-admission medications is a vital aspect of medication reconciliation and may affect subsequent medication adherence and safety. Little is known about predictors of pre-admission medication understanding.
We conducted a cross-sectional evaluation of patients at 2 hospitals using a novel Medication Understanding Questionnaire (MUQ). MUQ scores range from 0 to 3 and test knowledge of the medication purpose, dose, and frequency. We used multivariable ordinal regression to determine predictors of higher MUQ scores.
Among the 790 eligible patients, the median age was 61 (interquartile range [IQR] 52, 71), 21% had marginal or inadequate health literacy, and the median number of medications was 8 (IQR 5, 11). Median MUQ score was 2.5 (IQR 2.2, 2.8). Patients with marginal or inadequate health literacy had a lower odds of understanding their medications (odds ratio [OR]=0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.34 to 0.84; p=0.0001; and OR=0.49; 95% CI, 0.31 to 0.78; p=0.0001; respectively), compared to patients with adequate health literacy. Higher number of prescription medications was associated with lower MUQ scores (OR=0.52; 95% CI, 0.36 to 0.75; for those using 6 medications vs 1; p=0.0019), as was impaired cognitive function (OR=0.57; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.86; p=0.001).
Lower health literacy, lower cognitive function, and higher number of medications each were independently associated with less understanding of the pre-admission medication regimen. Clinicians should be aware of these factors when considering the accuracy of patient-reported medication regimens and counseling patients about safe and effective medication use.
Health Literacy; Medication Reconciliation
To review recent data regarding subtle, but widespread epigenetic alterations in phenotypically normal offspring conceived of ART compared to offspring conceived in vivo.
A PubMed computer search was performed to identify relevant articles.
Studies in animals indicate that in vitro culture may be associated with widespread alterations in imprinted genes, compared to in vivo-conceived offspring. Recently, studies in humans have likewise demonstrated widespread changes in DNA methylation, including genes linked to adipocyte development, insulin signaling, and obesity in offspring conceived by ART, compared to in vivo-conceived children. Changes in multiple imprinted genes following ART were also noted in additional studies, which suggested that the diagnosis of infertility may explain the differences between in vivo-conceived and ART offspring.
These data suggest that ART is associated with widespread epigenetic modifications in phenotypically normal children, and that these modifications may increase risk of adverse cardiometabolic outcomes. Further research is needed to elucidate the possible relationship between ART, genome-wide alterations in imprinted genes, and their potential relevance to subtle cardiometabolic consequences reported in ART offspring.
genome-wide epigenetic; imprinting; epigenetics; assisted reproductive technology; cardiometabolic
Progression of activated EGF receptor (EGFR) through the endocytic pathway regulates EGFR signaling. Here we show that a non-ubiquitinated EGFR mutant, unable to bind the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) component, Hrs, is not efficiently targeted onto intraluminal vesicles (ILVs) of multivesicular endosomes/bodies (MVBs). Moreover, ubiquitination and ESCRT engagement of activated EGFR is required for EGF-stimulated ILV formation. Non-ubiquitinated EGFRs enter clathrin-coated tubules emanating from MVBs and show enhanced recycling to the plasma membrane, compared to wild type EGFR.
EGF receptor; multivesicular bodies; intralumenal vesicles; recycling; ubiquitination
Tumors expressing the chemokine receptor CXCR4 have been reported to be more aggressive and to produce more metastatic seeding in specific organs, such as the bone marrow. However, evaluation of tumors for CXCR4 expression requires testing of ex vivo biopsy samples, and is not routinely done in cancer management. In prior work to address this issue, we and others have developed tracers for positron emission tomography (PET) that targeted CXCR4, but in addition to binding to CXCR4 these tracers also bound to red blood cells (and to other unrelated targets) in vivo. Here we report two new tracers based on the CXCR4 peptide antagonist 4F-benzoyl-TN14003 (T140) that bind to CXCR4, but not to undesired targets. These tracers, NOTA-NFB and DOTA-NFB, show slight reductions in both 1) binding affinities for CXCR4 and 2) inhibition of CXCL12 induced migration, compared to T140, in vitro. Both NOTA-NFB and DOTA-NFB specifically accumulate in CXCR4-positive, but not CXCR4-negative, tumor xenografts in mice and allow clear visualization of CXCR4 expression by PET. Evaluation of NOTA-NFB and DOTA-NFB for their potential to mobilize immune cells and progenitor cells from the bone marrow to the peripheral blood revealed slightly reduced, but still comparable, results to the parent molecule T140. The tracers reported here may allow the evaluation of CXCR4 expression in primary tumors and metastatic nodules, and enable better informed, more personalized treatment for patients with cancer.
T140; CXCR4 imaging; PET; copper-64
Childhood cancer survival remains dismal in low-income [A4] countries, but initiatives for treating paediatric cancer have substantially improved care in some of these countries. The My Child Matters programme was launched to fund projects for controlling paediatric cancer in low-income and mid-income countries. We aimed to assess the baseline status of paediatric cancer in ten countries that were receiving support (Bangladesh, Egypt, Honduras, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam). [A5]
Qualitative face-to-face interviews with clinicians, hospital managers, health officials, and others were done by a multidisciplinary public-health research company. Estimates of paediatric cancer from population-based data were used to project the number of current and future patients for comparison with survey-based data. 5-year survival was postulated on the basis of interviews with health-care professionals. Field survey data were statistically compared with demographic, health, and socioeconomic data from global health organisations. The main outcome was to assess baseline status of paediatric cancer in the countries. [A6]
The baseline status of paediatric oncology varied substantially between the countries. The number of patients reportedly receiving medical care (obtained from survey data [A7]) differed markedly from the number predicted by population-based incidence data. Postulated 5-year survival was directly proportional to several demographic, economic, and health indicators, and most substantially, annual government healthcare expenditure per capita [ADD DATA] [A8].
Management of paediatric cancer and access to care are poor or deficient (ie, nonexistent, unavailable, or inconsistent access for most children with cancer [A48]) in seven of the ten countries studied, and accurate baseline data on incidence and outcome are very sparse [A10]. Alliances between public, private, and international agencies can rapidly improve the outcome of children with cancer in these countries.
Termination of the stem cells in the floral meristem (also known as floral determinacy) is critical for the reproductive success of plants, and the molecular activities regulating floral determinacy are precisely orchestrated during the course of floral development. In Arabidopsis thaliana, regulators of floral determinacy include several transcription factor genes, such as APETALA2 (AP2), AGAMOUS (AG), SUPERMAN (SUP), and CRABSCLAW (CRC), as well as a microRNA (miRNA), miR172, which targets AP2. How the transcription factor and miRNA genes are coordinately regulated to achieve floral determinacy is unknown. A mutation in POWERDRESS (PWR), a previously uncharacterized gene encoding a SANT-domain-containing protein, was isolated in this study as an enhancer of the weakly indeterminate ag-10 allele. PWR was found to promote the transcription of CRC, MIR172a, b, and c and/or enhance Pol II occupancy at their promoters, without affecting MIR172d or e. A mutation in mature miR172d was additionally found to enhance the determinacy defects of ag-10 in an AP2-dependent manner, providing direct evidence that miR172d is functional in repressing AP2 and thereby contributes to floral determinacy. Thus, while PWR promotes floral determinacy by enhancing the expression of three of the five MIR172 members as well as CRC, MIR172d, whose expression is PWR-independent, also functions in floral stem cell termination. Taken together, these findings demonstrate how transcriptional diversification and functional redundancy of a miRNA family along with PWR-mediated co-regulation of miRNA and transcription factor genes contribute to the robustness of the floral determinacy network.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are 20–24 nucleotide RNAs that play regulatory roles in many developmental processes in plants and animals. Some miRNAs are encoded by multi-member gene families, and the members may exhibit differential expression patterns. However, the basis of this expression diversification and its developmental impact are poorly understood. By studying miR172, which represses its target APETALA2 (AP2) and thereby promotes the determinate growth of flowers (also known as floral determinacy), we show that the five MIR172 genes undergo differential transcriptional regulation. POWERDRESS (PWR), a previously uncharacterized SANT-domain-containing protein, promotes floral determinacy by enhancing the expression of MIR172a-c. MIR172d, whose expression is PWR-independent, was found to be functional in floral determinacy by repressing AP2. PWR also promotes floral determinacy through a transcription factor previously implicated in this process. Thus, transcriptional diversification of a miRNA family and PWR-mediated co-regulation of miRNA and transcription factor genes involved in floral determinacy contribute to the robustness of this developmental network.
Disulfide bonds are a posttranslational modification (PTM) that can be scrambled or shuffled to non-native bonds during recombinant expression, sample handling, or sample purification. Currently, mapping of disulfide bonds is difficult due, to various sample requirements and data analysis difficulties. One step towards facilitating this difficult work is developing a better understanding of how disulfide-bonded peptides fragment during Collision Induced Dissociation (CID). Most automated analysis algorithms function based on the assumption that the preponderance of product ions observed during the dissociation of disulfide-bonded peptides result from the cleavage of just one peptide bond, and in this report we tested that assumption by extensively analyzing the product ions generated when several disulfide-bonded peptides are subjected to CID on a QTOF instrument. We found that one of the most common types of product ions generated resulted from two peptide bond cleavages, or a double cleavage. We found that for several of the disulfide-bonded peptides analyzed, the number of double cleavage product ions outnumbered those of single cleavages. The influence of charge state and precursor ion size was investigated, to determine if those parameters dictated the amount of double cleavage product ions formed. It was found in this sample set that no strong correlation existed between the charge state or peptide size and the portion of product ions assigned as double cleavages. This data shows that these ions could account for many of the product ions detected in CID data of disulfide bonded peptides. We also showed the utility of double cleavage product ions on a peptide with multiple cysteines present. Double cleavage products were able to fully characterize the bonding pattern of each cysteine where typical single b/y cleavage products could not.
Tobacco smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the developed world. Identifying risk factors for smoking may lead to more effective treatments. Genome wide association studies revealed a relationship between development of nicotine dependence and a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs16969968) of the nicotine acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) alpha-5 subunit gene (CHRNA5). The relationship between this SNP and other factors contributing to smoking behavior such as smoking cue reactivity is unclear.
We assessed the role of rs16969968 on brain functional MRI (fMRI) reactivity to smoking cues by studying nicotine dependent women with the nicotine dependence ‘risk’ allele (A allele, N=14) and without the ‘risk’ allele (G/G smokers, N=10). Nicotine dependence severity, as assessed with the Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence, smoking pack-years, and expired carbon monoxide levels, were equivalent in these groups.
We observed a group difference in fMRI reactivity; women without the A allele (G/G smokers) showed greater fMRI reactivity to smoking images in brain areas related to memory and habitual behavior such as the hippocampus and dorsal striatum.
Our finding suggests that nicotine-dependent smokers lacking the rs16969968 A allele are more likely to recall smoking-related memories and engage in habitual responding to smoking cues than A allele smokers. Although more studies are necessary to determine the mechanism underlying and significance of this cue reactivity difference, these data suggest that smokers may develop and remain nicotine dependent due to different factors including genetics and cue reactivity. This finding may have implications for personalizing smoking treatment.
Tobacco smoking; fMRI; CHRNA5; nicotine dependence; dorsal striatum
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) causes an intestinal bacterial infection of increasing importance in Michigan residents and health-care facilities. The specific burden and health-care costs of C. difficile infection (CDI) were previously unknown. We evaluated the frequency, mortality, and health-care charges of CDI from Michigan hospital discharge data.
The Michigan Department of Community Health purchased discharge data from all Michigan acute care hospitals from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. We extracted all hospital discharges from 2002 through 2008 containing the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code for intestinal infection due to C. difficile. Discharges were stratified by principle diagnosis and comorbidity level. Total hospitalization charges were standardized to the 2008 U.S. dollar.
From 2002 through 2008, 68,686 hospital discharges with CDI occurred. The annual rate increased from 463.1 to 1096.5 CDI discharges per 100,000 discharges. CDI discharge rates were substantially higher among the elderly, females, and black people. Of all CDI discharges, 5,924 (8.6%) patients died. The mean total health-care charge for the time period was $67,149, and the annual mean increased 35% from 2002 to 2008. Hospital charges varied significantly by race/ethnicity and age. People with Medicaid insurance accrued the highest charges.
Across Michigan, the CDI burden is growing substantially and affecting vulnerable populations. Surveillance utilizing hospital discharge data can illuminate trends and inform intervention targets. To reduce disease and health-care charges, increased prevention and infection-control efforts should be directed toward high-risk populations, such as the elderly.
Smoking rates are up to five times higher in people with schizophrenia than in the general population, placing these individuals at high risk for smoking-related health problems. Varenicline, an α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist, is a promising aid for smoking cessation in this population. To optimize benefits to risks of treatment, it is critical to identify reliable predictors of positive response to varenicline in smokers with schizophrenia.
Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are related to dysfunctions in the brain reward system, are associated with nicotine dependence, and may be improved by nicotine or nicotinic receptor agonists, suggesting that smoking cessation may be especially difficult for patients with substantial negative symptoms. The purpose of the study was to evaluate negative symptoms as predictors of response to varenicline.
Patients with schizophrenia (N=53) completed a 12-week smoking cessation trial combining varenicline with cognitive behavioral therapy. Negative symptoms were assessed via the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS; Andreasen 1983). Outcomes included smoking abstinence as assessed by self-report and expired carbon monoxide (CO). Change in performance on a probabilistic reward task was used as an index of change in reward sensitivity during treatment.
At week 12, 32 participants met criteria for 14-day point-prevalence abstinence. Patients with lower baseline symptoms of affective flattening (more typical affect) were more likely to achieve smoking abstinence, and demonstrated larger increases in reward sensitivity during treatment.
These data suggest that affective flattening symptoms in smokers with schizophrenia may predict response to varenicline.
Nicotine; Schizophrenia; Varenicline; Reward; Anhedonia; Affective flattening
Realistic computational models of neuronal activity typically involve many variables and parameters, most of which remain unknown or poorly constrained. Moreover, experimental observations of the neuronal system are typically limited to the times of action potentials, or spikes. One important component of developing a computational model is the optimal incorporation of these sparse experimental data. Here we use point process statistical theory to develop a procedure for estimating parameters and hidden variables in neuronal computational models given only the observed spike times. We discuss the implementation of a sequential Monte Carlo method for this procedure and apply it to three simulated examples of neuronal spiking activity. We also address the issues of model identification and misspecification, and show that accurate estimates of model parameters and hidden variables are possible given only spike time data.
parameter estimation; computational neuron models; sequential Monte Carlo; spike trains
This study examined prevalence of alcohol dependence symptoms and diagnosis among a nationally representative sample of recent onset adolescent drinkers aged 12-21years (mean 17 years) across different levels of drinking drawn from National Survey of Drug Use and Health (N = 9,490). We assessed whether the relationship between level of alcohol use and alcohol dependence was similar for individuals from different socio-demographic groups (i.e., gender, age group, ethnic group, family income, and substance use in the past year). The most prevalent DSM-IV alcohol dependence criteria at low levels of alcohol use were “unsuccessful efforts to cut down”, “tolerance”, and “time spent” in activities necessary to obtain alcohol or recover from its effect. Logistic regression with polynomial contrasts indicated increasing rates of each criterion and an overall dependence diagnosis with increasing alcohol exposure that differed most between the lowest levels of recent drinking frequency. After controlling for drinking quantity, younger adolescents, females, Native American/Alaskans and Asian/Pacific Islanders were most likely to experience alcohol dependence symptoms and a diagnosis of dependence, suggesting that these demographic subgroups may experience dependence symptoms or develop dependence more quickly after beginning to drink. Recognizing early symptoms of alcohol dependence may assist in early identification and intervention of those at risk for heavier drinker in the future.
Alcohol dependence; Alcohol exposure; Adolescents
Although there is a strong relationship between depression and smoking, most nicotine dependence treatment trials exclude depressed smokers. Our objective was to determine if bupropion improves abstinence rates and abstinence-associated depressive symptoms when added to transdermal nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in smokers with unipolar depressive disorder (UDD). Adult smokers with current (n=90) or past (n=109) UDD were randomly assigned to receive bupropion or placebo added to NRT and CBT for 13 weeks. In the primary analysis, with dropouts considered smokers, 36% (35/97) of those on bupropion and 31% (32/102) on placebo attained biochemically-validated 7-day point-prevalence abstinence at end of treatment (NS). Because of a high drop out rate (50%) and a significant difference in abstinence status at dropout by treatment group, a traditional intent-to-treat (ITT) analysis with last observation carried forward imputation of abstinence status was performed. In this secondary analysis, 56% (54/97) of those on bupropion and 41% (42/102) on placebo met criteria for abstinence at end of trial, Chi2=4.18, p=0.04. NRT usage and absence of a co-morbid anxiety disorder predicted abstinence. Abstinence was associated with increased depressive symptoms, regardless of bupropion treatment. Thus, in the primary analysis, bupropion neither increased the efficacy of intensive group CBT and NRT for smoking cessation in smokers with UDD nor prevented abstinence-associated depressive symptoms. Bupropion appeared to provide an advantage for smoking cessation for those who remained in the trial. The dropout rate was high and was characterized by higher prevalence of current comorbid anxiety disorder. Given the high abstinence rate achieved with CBT plus NRT, a ceiling effect related to the high level of intervention received by all subjects may have prevented an adequate test of bupropion.
Depression; Major Depressive Disorder; Unipolar Depressive Disorder; Nicotine; Smoking Cessation; Bupropion; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Nicotine Replacement Therapy; Relapse
Using recombinant DNA technology for expression of protein therapeutics is a maturing field of pharmaceutical research and development. As recombinant proteins are increasingly utilized as biotherapeutics, improved methodologies ensuring the characterization of post-translational modifications (PTMs) are needed. Typically, proteins prepared for PTM analysis are proteolytically digested and analyzed by mass spectrometry. To assure full coverage of the PTMs on a given protein, one must obtain complete sequence coverage of the protein, which is often quite challenging. The objective of the research described here is to design a protocol that maximizes protein sequence coverage and enables detection of post-translational modifications, specifically N-linked glycosylation. To achieve this objective, a highly efficient proteolytic digest protocol using trypsin was designed by comparing the relative merits of denaturing agents (urea and Rapigest™ SF), reducing agents (dithiothreitol, DTT, and tris(2-carboxyethyl)phophine, TCEP), and various concentrations of alkylating agent (iodoacetamide, IAM). After analysis of human apo-transferrin using various protease digestion protocols, ideal conditions were determined to contain 6 M urea for denaturation, 5 mM TCEP for reduction, 10 mM IAM for alkylation, and 10 mM DTT, to quench excess IAM before the addition of trypsin. This method was successfully applied to a novel recombinant protein, human lysyl oxidase-like 2 (hLOXL2). Furthermore, the glycosylation PTMs were readily detected at two glycosylation sites in the protein. These digestion conditions were specifically designed for PTM analysis of recombinant proteins and biotherapeutics, and the work described herein fills an unmet need in the growing field of biopharmaceutical analysis.
Regulation of proteins across the cell cycle is a basic process in cell biology. It has been difficult to study this globally in human cells due to lack of methods to accurately follow protein levels and localizations over time. Estimates based on global mRNA measurements suggest that only a few percent of human genes have cell-cycle dependent mRNA levels. Here, we used dynamic proteomics to study the cell-cycle dependence of proteins. We used 495 clones of a human cell line, each with a different protein tagged fluorescently at its endogenous locus. Protein level and localization was quantified in individual cells over 24h of growth using time-lapse microscopy. Instead of standard chemical or mechanical methods for cell synchronization, we employed in-silico synchronization to place protein levels and localization on a time axis between two cell divisions. This non-perturbative synchronization approach, together with the high accuracy of the measurements, allowed a sensitive assay of cell-cycle dependence. We further developed a computational approach that uses texture features to evaluate changes in protein localizations. We find that 40% of the proteins showed cell cycle dependence, of which 11% showed changes in protein level and 35% in localization. This suggests that a broader range of cell-cycle dependent proteins exists in human cells than was previously appreciated. Most of the cell-cycle dependent proteins exhibit changes in cellular localization. Such changes can be a useful tool in the regulation of the cell-cycle being fast and efficient.
Enormous efforts have been made toward translating nanotechnology into medical practice, including cancer management. The approaches have generally been classifiable into two categories--those for diagnosis and those for therapy. The targets for diagnostic probes and therapy are often the same, however, and separate approaches to develop diagnostic and therapeutic agents can miss opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of both. A close and continuous linkage between therapy and diagnosis is also important, because a patient’s diagnosis/prognosis will evolve during treatment.
The unique physical properties of nanomaterials enable them to serve as 1) bases for superior imaging probes to locate and report cancerous lesions, and 2) vehicles to deliver therapeutics preferentially to those lesions. These technologies for probes and vehicles have converged in the current efforts to develop nano-theranostics—that is, nanoplatforms with both imaging and therapeutic functionalities. These latest multimodal platforms are highly versatile and valuable components of the emerging beneficial trend toward personalized medicine, which emphasizes tailoring practices to individual needs so as to optimize outcomes. Unlike conventional methods, imaging and therapeutic functions are seamlessly unified in nano-theranostics, thereby permitting updates to diagnosis/prognosis along with treatment, and enabling opportunities to switch to alternative, possibly more suitable, regimens.
Magnetic nanoparticles, especially superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (hereafter referred to as IONPs), have long been studied as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Owing to recent progress in synthesis and surface modification, many new avenues have opened, though, for this class of biomaterials. The idea is to conceptualize the nanoparticles not as merely tiny magnetic crystals, but rather as platforms with large surface-to-volume ratios. By taking advantage of the well developed surface chemistry of these materials, one can load a wide range of functionalities, such as targeting, imaging and therapeutic features, onto their surfaces. This makes magnetic nanoparticles excellent scaffolds to construct theranostic agents and has attracted many efforts toward this goal.
In this account we will summarize the progress made in our recent studies. We will introduce the surface engineering techniques that we and others have developed, with an emphasis on how the techniques affect the role of nanoparticles as imaging or therapeutic agents.